AORE's 30th Anniversary

This time thirty years ago, AORE was founded at the International Conference on Outdoor Recreation, with official 501c3 non-profit status. After roughly seven years of operating as a non-association without a governing body, AORE was finally official. Since then, outdoor professionals have gathered to advance the field of outdoor recreation and education.

Step Out for 30:
AORE's 30th Anniversary Virtual Walk

In celebration of three decades as an association, we invite you to join Step Out for 30: AORE's 30th Anniversary Virtual Walk. 

This event begins October 2nd, 2023 and ends on October 31st, 2023— just in time for AORE's Outdoor Professional Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

With your $30 registration, you will:

  • Earn a free t-shirt when you register and log at least 30 miles over the course of the event. 

  • Receive access to AORE's Strava club, where we'll motivate and inspire each other to keep moving over the course of the event.

  • Be invited to create a peer-to-fundraising page, so that friends, family and colleagues can donate on behalf of you and your participation.

Together, we'll raise funds in support of AORE's mission to empower and advocate for outdoor recreation and education professionals. 


Virtual Walk FAQs

Join the Celebration

We are proud of where we have been and want to celebrate YOU — our members! We are also excited about where we are going. Help us celebrate this milestone by sharing your story and donating for the future of AORE.

Share Your Story

We want to reflect on and remember how AORE has grown, how we've supported our members and the outdoor industry at large, and what folks are excited for AORE to do in the future.

Share Your Story

Give Back to the Community

Support the next thirty years or AORE with a donation! 


Celebrating YOU - Our Members!

AORE History

Non-Association Years [early 1970’s - 1993]
  • 1970s-1983: The non-association era included informal networking between programs starting in the 1970's between outdoor programs and academics at various conferences. 
  • 1984: National Outdoor Recreation Conference (NCOR) was the first national conference devoted solely to non-profit outdoor recreation and education providers.
  • 1992: This conference changed its name to International Conference on Outdoor Recreation (ICOR) because it was held in Canada.
  • 1993: ICOR participants voted to accept the mission statement, goals, objectives, and bylaws prepared by the Association Development Committee. The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education was adopted as the name for this new organization

AORE Founders: Individuals who served on the Association Development Committee and/or served on the inaugural Board of Directors including the following individuals: Dr. Steve Guthrie, Dan Tillemans, Mike Ruthenberg, Tim Moore, Mary Callendar, Alf Skrastins, Ron Watters, Patsy Kott, Jim Rogers, Jim Fullerton, Joe Quinn, Sheila Barch, and Brian Wilkenson. Learn more.

Outdoor Recreation Coalition Association (ORCA) and AORE [1993-1998]
  • 1993-1997: AORE, a formed organization with guiding documents [but without  a non-profit status] becomes a subgroup of the Outdoor Recreation Coalition Association [ORCA] which was a four year old trade organization. AORE was identified as a sub-group in legal name under the ORCA by-laws at that time. During this time, individuals called themselves AORE members and the board of directors did work to establish mission, vision and bylaws. 

  • 1998: ORCA decided to no longer have AORE as a subgroup. 

AORE Works to Become an Official Nonprofit [1998-2001]
  • 1998-2000: What we now know as AORE was built upon the leadership of volunteer members who worked to bring AORE together in preparation to become a nonprofit organization. 
  • 2001: AORE secures 501c3 status as a nonprofit organization.

Many individuals donated countless hours to lead and guide the association to recruit and hire a national office staff - Georgi Baird - who, alongside her husband Ken, truly brought together and made AORE become a 501c3 in 2001.

AORE NonProfit Early Years [2001-2010]
  • 2001-2010: During this period AORE is run by a working board of directors and active committees, with an office manager who oversees business aspects of the organization.  The conference moves from college or university, often with the hosting school using its resources - facility, insurance, and point of sale to support AORE membership and conference registrations.  The association is built around the annual conference, which continues to mature with more robust education sessions, vendor halls, socials, and research symposiums.  

Transitioning to an Executive Director [2009-2010]
  • 2009-2010:  The board of directors recognizes that AORE is able to mature into an organization with an executive director.  With the support of the membership, the board creates a position description for the executive role which includes operations, staff, conference and fundraising.  A national search was conducted and at the Keystone Conference in 2010, AORE’s first executive director was announced - Jeannette Stawski.

2011-2023 - AORE 
  • AORE has continued to develop as a nonprofit organization and mature with its governance structure, its staffing, volunteer engagement, and educational offerings.  AORE transitioned from a working board model to a strategic board, which has allowed them to advance AORE’s mission. 
  • The executive director has used a variety of staff models to respond to specific AORE needs including part and full time staff, independent contractors, and event management staff.

Celebrating YOU - Our Members!